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UHV Surface Science

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For the determination of surface composition, contaminant analysis and for depth profiling

Hiden Analytical designs some of the world’s highest sensitivity mass spectrometers for critical vacuum processes in both extreme- and ultra-high vacuum conditions (XHV/UHV). With outstanding detection capabilities provided, including pulse ion counting, Hiden mass spectrometers offer the most sensitive detection limits and fast data acquisition for applications in XHV/UHV surface science, UHV-TPD, and secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS).


Exploring the differences between vacuum regimes at the molecular level provides numerous insights into the many challenges of XHV/UHV surface science. In processing conditions, vacuums are primarily filled with precursor – or process – gases that are flooded into the chamber after bulk, ambient species have been exhausted. Process vacuums cover the pressure regime from approximately 10-2 – 10-4 millibar (mbar).

UHV conditions extend much lower (10-7 – 10-12 mbar), while the XHV range extends further still (<10-12). In these environments, the dominant molecular species present are those that have desorbed from the chamber walls, and extremely light molecules like hydrogen. To put these into context, UHV conditions are exploited for high-energy physics and nuclear research while XHV is characteristic of pressure levels observed in outer-space.

UHV Surface Science with Hiden Analytical

Consequently, UHV surface science demands stringent attention to the finest details. Hiden Analytical mass spectrometers provide extremely high sensitivity detection capabilities for both positive and negative ion detection through seven continuous decades, with an integral accumulation mode for acquiring discreet particle events. With special configurations available upon request, including distinct gating inputs and multi-channel analysis MCA modes, Hiden mass spectrometers can satisfy the demands of numerous XHV/UHV testing methods. These include: